Keeping the Evangel in Evangelism: Why Evangelicalism Can’t Abandon the Old, Old Story

Al Mohler: The Great Commission stands at the center of Christianity as the command of the risen Lord Jesus Christ for his church to proclaim the name of God in the world for the sake of all nations and God’s glory among them. The church fulfills the commission by making disciples of Christ, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded his church to believe and obey (Matt 28:18-20). Evangelism that calls sinners to repentance and spreads the fame of God’s name, then, is at the very heart of the mission of God’s people. EVANGELISM IN A POST-CHRISTIAN WORLD Every culture and civilization embraces a certain set of assumptions about life, truth, significance, and what it means to be human. Without these shared assumptions, societal life would be impossible. Individuals within these societies may not give much active thought to these common assumptions, but their decisions, expectations, and general dispositions reflect the presence of these assumptions as what some philosophers call

read more Keeping the Evangel in Evangelism: Why Evangelicalism Can’t Abandon the Old, Old Story

The danger of ‘how-to’ sermons

Timothy Raymond: Several years ago a very dedicated church member pulled me aside. I could tell he had some important words for me, words that had been on his heart for quite some time. In a hushed, sober tone he said, “I’m concerned you’re being too hard on the Roman Catholics in your preaching and teaching. From time to time, you’ve specifically called-out Catholics as being wrong for this or that reason. But, frankly, when it comes right down to it, what Roman Catholics believe and what we believe is basically the same.” At the time, I had nothing to say. I was so dumbfounded that I simply nodded my head and furrowed my brow and (to my shame) tried to change the subject. But in retrospect I concluded that this sincere man misunderstood what Roman Catholics believe, misunderstood what we evangelicals believe, or, most likely, misunderstood both. And to make matters worse, I really don’t think he viewed that

read more The danger of ‘how-to’ sermons

The first job of the shepherd: protect the flock

From Phil Johnson’s message at the Shepherd’s Conference: We’re often told by gurus of church-growth and guardians of postmodern values in the evangelical community that we mustn’t erect “boundaries.” I gather from the way such comments are often bandied about that the word boundaries is supposed to have totally negative connotations. Honestly: I don’t see why. I can understand how worldly people whose minds are enslaved to earthbound, man-centered, self-indulgent thoughts might wish for a world without any lines or borders. But candidly, it’s an attitude that’s hard to reconcile with the whole tenor of the New Testament. Contemporary evangelicals’ resistance to boundaries is especially hard to reconcile with the fact that pastors (the word means shepherds) are expressly charged with guarding the flock and keeping predators out of the fold. And there simply is no realistic way to keep sheep in the sheepfold and wolves out if you refuse to observe any boundaries. In John 10:7, Jesus famously said:

read more The first job of the shepherd: protect the flock

What makes an Evangelical?

A couple of posts from Todd Pruitt: In a recent interview Phil Johnson was asked, “What is the biggest problem facing evangelicalism today and how should we respond?” Johnson answers: The greatest problem I see is the ever-broadening boundary of the evangelical movement and (corresponding to that) the increasingly ambiguous definition of evangelicalism. Evangelicals are too concerned with gaining collective clout and publicity and not concerned enough with being evangelical (being faithful to the gospel). Many of evangelicalism’s most visible and popular leaders and institutions—including evangelicalism’s self-styled “house organ,” Christianity Today magazine—have been tearing down evangelical boundaries instead of guarding them. Consequently, a host of dangerous influences have infiltrated the evangelical movement and people in the pews don’t see the danger, because it’s considered impolite to be critical of a fellow “evangelical.” In an era where everyone from Benny Hinn to Brian McLaren wears the evangelical label, it is sheer folly to be so blithely accepting of everything and everyone who claims

read more What makes an Evangelical?

Our determination to be biblical

John MacArthur writes: The market-driven philosophy of user-friendly churches does not easily permit them to take firm enough doctrinal positions to oppose false teaching. Their outlook on leadership drives them to hire marketers who can sell rather than biblically qualified pastors who can teach. Their approach to ministry is so undoctrinal that they cannot educate their people against subtle errors. Their avoidance of controversy puts them in a position where they cannot oppose false teaching that masquerades as evangelicalism. In fact, the new trends in theology seem ideally suited to the user-friendly philosophy. Why would the user-friendly church oppose such doctrines? But oppose them we must, if we are to remain true to God’s Word and maintain a gospel witness. Pragmatic approaches to ministry do not hold answers to the dangers confronting biblical Christianity today. Pragmatism promises bigger churches, more people, and a living church, but it is really carnal wisdom–spiritually bankrupt and contrary to the Word of God. Marketing

read more Our determination to be biblical

Are Evangelicals Doctrinally Weak?

In the book God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards, Piper writes about the present state of evangelicalism: I resonate with the lament of Os Guinness and David Wells that evangelicalism today is basking briefly in the sunlight of hollow success. Evangelical industries of television and radio and publishing and music recordings, as well as hundreds of growing mega-churches and some highly visible public figures and political movements, give outward impressions of vitality and strength. But both Wells and Guinness, in their own ways, have called attention to the hollowing out of evangelicalism from within. In other words, the strong timber of the tree of evangelicalism has historically been the great doctrines of the Bible—God’s glorious perfections, man’s fallen nature, the wonders of redemptive history, the magnificent work of redemption in Christ, the saving and sanctifying work of grace in the soul, the great mission of the church in conflict with the world and the flesh and

read more Are Evangelicals Doctrinally Weak?

Christ Alone – Michael Wittmer’s Response to “Love Wins”

From Trevin Wax: Mike Wittmer has done evangelicals a great service. He has penned an easy-to-read, thoughtful, and charitable response to Rob Bell’s controversial book, Love Wins. Wittmer is a professor at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and has written books like Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough and Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God. This new book, Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins, is a tour-de-force, brilliant in its critique and gracious in its tone. I’ve always admired Mike Wittmer’s willingness to genuinely listen to the questions and concerns coming from people of differing theological persuasions. When the Emerging Church discussion was taking place, Wittmer readily admitted weaknesses and errors within evangelical theology that need to be corrected. But he never veered from his reliance on the authoritativeness of Scripture and the centrality of the gospel. So now, Wittmer enters into the fierce debate over Love Wins in order to express

read more Christ Alone – Michael Wittmer’s Response to “Love Wins”

DOCTRINE WINS

By Richard Lints: With all of the furor surrounding Rob Bell’s recent book, Love Wins (HaperOne 2011) it may seem counterintuitive to say that interest in the book (as evidenced by the Time Magazine cover article on it) owes more to the enduring interest in Christian doctrine rather than to the ambiguity of belief so characteristic of Bell’s thesis.  The fact that people still care about the doctrinal outlines of the Christian belief in heaven and hell is testimony that at the end of the day, doctrine wins.  It does matter what one believes.  It matters because doctrine shapes life and deep down most of us know this. David Brooks, the New York Times OpEd columinist recently wrote, “Many Americans have always admired the style of belief that is spiritual but not doctrinal, pluralistic and not exclusive, which offers tools for serving the greater good but is not marred by intolerant theological judgments. The only problem is that [this view]

read more DOCTRINE WINS